Legal Subject: Power of Attorney

Case Date Legal Subject Abstract
Dunlop and Montgomery v. Peter 1781 Power of Attorney This case was about an individual’s authority to act as attorney for Walter Peter, a Virginia merchant, in a case pending in Scotland. Messrs. Dunlop and Montgomery, the pursuers, sued Peter for payment of a debt that he allegedly owed them. When George Anderson appeared on Walter’s behalf, the pursuers claimed that he had no authority to do so. Although Anderson produced a power of attorney from Peter, the pursuers argued that it existed for the limited purpose of allowing Anderson to handle Peter’s succession to a particular estate.
Macredie v. Cunninghames 1778 Power of Attorney, Mala Fides, Plantation Thomas Macredie, a business associate of William Cunninghame, died intestate in July of 1753, leaving a 400-acre plantation in Augusta County, Virginia. Andrew and William Macredies, father and brother of Thomas, respectively, successively corresponded with William Cunninghame regarding the sale of "Macredie's Quarter," and when he returned to Glasgow in 1762, his brother, Alexander, took over the matter. Eventually the plantation was sold to Colonel Thomas Slaughter, who became bankrupt before making any payments on the land. In April of 1773, a few months after the death of Alexander Cunninghame, William Macredie brought action against William Cunninghame for the price of Macredie's Quarter, arguing that Cunninghame had spitefully withheld the bond for the land, following a dispute over Cunninghame's commission. William Cunninghame, on the other hand, argued that he had never been the official power of attorney, and therefore was not responsible for delivering the bond to Macredie. Lord Barskimming assoilzied (cleared) Cunninghame, and Macredie brought action against the heirs of Alexander Cunninghame. Cunninghame's heirs, the defenders, argued that the fault lay with Macredie, who had failed to seek out Alexander Cunninghame while he was still alive. After Barskimming assoilzied the defenders, Macredie reclaimed, and William Cunninghame was then ordained to exhibit all relevant correspondence on the matter. According to Macredie, these letters provided evidence of "collusion and artifice"; he therefore asked the Court to alter Barskimming's assoilment. Shortly afterward, however, for reasons not disclosed in the court documents, Macredie withdrew his objection to the Cunninghames' assoilment, and Lord Barskimming found Macredie liable for their legal expenses.